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Bluefin Tuna Recreational Fishery Remains Closed for the 2014 Season

29th August 2014
Bluefin Tuna Recreational Fishery Remains Closed for the 2014 Season

#bluefintuna – Sea anglers and charter boat skippers are reminded that the Bluefin Tuna recreational fishery remains closed in 2014. Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) have released updated information in relation to the recreational catches of Bluefin tuna in Ireland. European fisheries regulations governing the catching, landing and sale of Bluefin tuna direct states that unless a Member State has specifically assigned a portion of their annual national quota to sports and recreational fisheries to target these fish no such fishing can take place.
Current Bluefin Tuna fisheries management regulations (EU Reg 302/2009 and International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas( ICCAT) Recommendation 12-03) stipulate that recreational and sport fisheries may be facilitated by Member States by allocating a specific national Blue Fin Tuna quota to the sectors, but because Ireland does not have a quota the EU has advised that a specific recreational fishery cannot be operated.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of IFI said: "IFI is supportive of hard-pressed coastal communities and the marine sector in particular and are aware of the economic boost which recreational angling can bring to such peripheral communities. In this regard, IFI continues to actively investigate the possibility of operating a recreational bluefin tuna catch and release fishery."
Any initiative by IFI to develop a catch and release fishery for recreational fishers in Irish waters will demand strict catch-and release protocols with obligatory catch logging and reporting to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Such a proposal from Ireland will need the input and support of Ireland's regulatory maritime agencies to prepare a submission for consideration by the Scientific Committee ICCAT and the European Commission.
In the meantime, any Bluefin Tuna mortalities arising from fish accidentally caught in the course of angling must be notified to SFPA who are charged with the enforcement of the above regulations. The fish will be confiscated and disposed of.
Susan Steele, Chair of the SFPA said: "Ireland does not have a direct fishery for Bluefin Tuna in Ireland. Ireland does have a 1% by catch of Bluefin Tuna as part of the Northern Albacore fishery. The vessels that partake in the Northern Albacore fishery must obtain a specific fishing authorisation from the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine. For anyone engaged in sports or recreational sea angling this means that if a Bluefin Tuna is caught while sea angling it has to be immediately released as the fish cannot be targeted or landed by an Irish boat."

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